The company argued that it could better compete with British Airways, the other Moscow-route certificate holder, for business travellers.

The Civil Aviation Authority on Wednesday chose easyJet on the basis that the budget carrier could provide better value and a service that would appeal to a range of customers. ‘EasyJet's proposal would introduce a distinctly different product as well as satisfying and stimulating customer demand that is currently under served, in particular for people who prefer or are content to use Gatwick,’ said Iain Osborne, the CAA's director of regulatory policy.

British Airways will continue to operate the London Heathrow to Moscow route, said the CAA on Wednesday.

The opportunity to fly from Gatwick to Moscow came up this year when BMI, which held the right, was bought by BA’s parent company International Airlines Group and incorporated into the UK flagship carrier.

Under a bilateral agreement with Russia, only two UK airlines and two Russian carries may fly between London and Moscow. Two Russian airlines are Aeroflot and Transaero.

‘We believe that our flights will be popular with both business and leisure travellers alike,’ easyJet Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said.

The company, which will start flying two services a day on the route from next spring, said it planned to sell tickets from £125 for a return flight. EasyJet may also launch a sister route between Manchester and Moscow.